The lead track on Celilo's forthcoming record, Buoy Bell, also appeared on the Portland group's 2009 LP Bending Mirrors. The original version of "Sunken Ships" featured frontman Sloan Martin alone with an acoustic guitar, while this version has a whole lot of open space filled out only slightly with faint sustained synthesizer chords in the background and a delicate master reverb. A brushed snare drops in the closing moments of this solo-acoustic edition only to fade out a few seconds later. This momentary rhythmic passage was originally felt as a motion of movement on Bending Mirrors towards the next track. But this moment's meaning evolves completely after listening to Buoy Bell's reprise—it becomes a gesture towards the future sound of Celilo.
Buoy Bell's version of "Sunken Ships" features the full band with gorgeous pedal steel colors, surfy electric guitar, and that breezy snare-focused percussion as a rhythmic backbone. The most beautiful moments in the song are the brisk snare fills that patiently fall in after Martin's band hits that incomplete cadence as his chorus lyrics sink away. It's a mature, measured moment that is just one example on Buoy Bell of Celilo's development as a band.
Catch Celilo this Friday at The Alberta Rose Theater with Sean Flinn and the Royal We and Carcrashlander. They're celebrating the official release of Buoy Bell ... in Europe. The record is due out in the U.S. on September 27th.
Celilo - "Sunken Ships" (Reprise)